Author Profile: Steve McHugh
Yep, I’ve been slacking on the whole blog thing, but this month I’m making it up to you with a glimpse into mind of bestselling Urban Fantasy author Steve McHugh (his Hellequin Chronicles tend to hang around the #1,#2,#3 spot on Amazon). And he gets to use words like ‘mum’ because he’s on the side of the pond where they know how to make a decent cup of tea. Enjoy.
I always wanted to be a writer. When I was young, about 7 or 8, I would write little stories that I can’t even remember anymore. I was about 10 when I wrote the opening chapter to a book that sounded so much like Terry Pratchett that the word plagiarism would have been too soft.
I knew I wanted to write, although I had no idea about doing it for a living, I just wanted to tell stories. I was probably about 13 or 14 when my English teacher gave the class a creative writing assignment. Mine was something to do with a C.I.A operative trying to escape from assassins while he hid out in diner in the middle of the desert. It was, quite frankly, trash. But fun trash. Unfortunately, my teacher and head of department disagreed with my use of violence and swearing and I was told that I’d need to write something else before he’d submit it as work. Apparently, teachers don’t like their students using swearing and violence in work. Who knew?
So, I wrote a story about a boy who finds a frog and took it home. He then had to keep it hidden from his mum, who eventually found it and he had to give it up. It was heart-wrenching and got me an A. It was probably also trash, but I was 13 years old, so to my mind it was a work of genius.
Anyway, that was point when I realised that actually I really, really liked writing. I wrote a few more things in English class over the years, although I can remember very few and then I went to college and stopped. I didn’t write again, except the occasional opening chapter of something that never went further, for about 3 or 4 years. I always told myself, I had loads of time and that I’d get round to it, but I never did.
I liked the idea of writing a book, of being a writer, but I didn’t know how to go about actually doing it. So, I just let the dream glow inside me while I did nothing about it.
My eldest daughter, Mim (that’s not her real name, I just call her that. Mim’s from the Sword in the Stone) was born 9 years ago, when I was 25. I decided to actually stop messing about with the idea of writing and actually write. I joined a writing group and over the following three years wrote my first book that will never be read by anyone.
After that, I had the bug and immediately set about starting my second book, which as it turned out would be my first published work, Hellequin Chronicles, Book 1. Crimes Against Magic.
It took me a lot less to get the book done, although I took nearly 2 years to try and get an agent and try to make it better and better, until I decided to just self-publish it. Then last year I self-published book 2, Born of Hatred. They both did pretty well, certainly well enough to interest 47North, Amazon’s own SF, Fantasy and Horror imprint. Both books are now re-published and followed by a third that came out in Feb this year. I’ve also got an agent now, and am looking forward to a future in a career I love.
It’s an overwhelming feeling to have had success in something you love to do. There’s really nothing quite like it. But I do regret having wasted so many years not working on my writing or not taking it seriously. So, if you have a dream that you’ll ‘get round to’, don’t wait, don’t put it off, just do it. It could well be the best decision you ever make.
Hook up with Steve in the Platonic Sense Here: